An automatic door is a door that opens automatically upon sensing the approach of a person.
The first known automatic door was invented in 1st century AD by Heron of Alexandria in Roman Egypt. In 1960, Dee Horton and Lew Hewitt (who invented the first sliding automatic door) co-founded Horton Automatics Inc and placed the first commercial automatic sliding door on the market.
Automatic doors are used in shopping malls, supermarkets, hypermarkets, hotels, movie theatres, concert halls, etc. which allows contact-less entry and exit in a place where thousands visit every day.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Automatic doors function with the help of sensors that detects when the doors need to open. These sensors may be of different types. They’re based on a sense of sound, light, pressure, or motion. For example, doors that operate by sensing pressure may have pressure sensors hidden within rubber mats at the entrance of the door or doors functioning with the help of motion or optic sensors, which detect nearby motion thus triggering the door to open. They open as soon as you’re close enough to activate the sensors. These days most of the automatic doors operate on motion sensors installed on the sides of the door, to trigger the opening/closing of doors.
TYPES OF AUTOMATIC DOORS
There are three types of automatic doors: sliding, swinging, and folding doors
1. AUTOMATIC SLIDING DOOR
Automatic sliding doors provide effective two-way traffic management. They are equipped with a feature that allows the sliding door to swing when pushed during emergencies. This feature qualifies them to be used in locations that require emergency exit capability. They are used in various configurations such as traditional biparting, single slide, and telescoping models. They require an adequate amount of slide room so that the door can move. Sliding doors should include appropriate sensors or control mats and safety signage.
2. AUTOMATIC SWINGING DOOR
Two doors are used when a swinging door is automated. One swings inward while the other swings outward. This enables two-way traffic. These doors should be well marked indicating the direction of travel. There are two types of sensors for swinging doors- overhead mount and door mount. Each has different characteristics, pattern sizes, and performance. Swinging doors should include guide rails, sensors or control mats, and safety signage.
3. AUTOMATIC FOLDING DOORS
A folding door requires minimal space for installation, yet provides plenty of clear door space. This type of door is preferred when the space is minimum. They should have an emergency swing feature if the doors are being used as an egress location. They consist of two separate panels: the first panel swings and the second slides in a guide, allowing it to slide as both panels swing in a ‘V’ shape, which is the fold. Automatic folding doors can include either a single folding door that swings in and out or a pair of doors which simultaneously swing in and out.
No matter the type of door, it should be designed in such a way that traffic approaches the door in full view and users move directly towards the door. Pedestrians must be able to view the door excellently and its markings and direction of travel. Avoid positioning anything within four feet of the door that can distract the users such as vending machines or waste containers etc.
Similar to swinging doors, folding doors should include guide rails, sensors or control mats, and safety signage.
The nature of the application is imperative in determining the type of automatic door that will be installed. Not every type of automatic door is suitable for every application. You must consider the desired traffic flow, types of users, available space, and aesthetic requirements or preferences.
ADVANTAGES OF AUTOMATIC DOORS
Automatic doors come in an array of different styles, shapes, colors, designs, and finishes. This provides an eloquent and sophisticated look to your residential or commercial premises and helps enhance its reputation as well. Since they are available in three basic configurations- swinging, sliding, and folding, you don’t have to sacrifice form for function. Additionally, they are available in tough and durable materials such as aluminum, steel, fiberglass, etc. that highlight your home or commercial space.
Automatic doors don’t require any human effort or force for their operation. It helps minimize the struggle and aggravations that arise while opening a relatively heavier manual door. Moreover, since their operation doesn’t require the use of hands, they can be accessed by the elderly, handicapped, and those with children in tow. In addition to this, they are helpful for people carrying heavy packages, luggage, or children. Automatic doors also give you the option to open and close the door manually as well.
• SAFETY AND SECURITY
Under proper installation and regular inspection, automatic doors tend to provide a safe and convenient environment for everyone. By virtue of owning an automaticdoor, you can be assured that your door has closed properly thus providing protection for your property from potential intruders. This also means that you do not need to have any additional locks or security systems in place to keep out or deter burglars and thieves from entering your premises. Furthermore, automatic doors are manufactured according to the highest standards for quality and safety, ensuring minimal maintenance requirements thus making them incredibly easy to own, use and maintain as well.
• ENERGY SAVING
Automatic doors effectively save energy and reduce annual heating and cooling costs. Doors open only when activated and automatically close so as to eliminate the possibility of the doors being left open. They also prevent air-conditioning from escaping and outside air and dust from entering the premises.
• HYGIENE CONTROL
The hands-free operation of automatic doors provides an optimal solution to hospitals and food factories where sanitation is essential. An automatic door with an air-tight function can also prevent the entry of external dust and dirt by increasing the air pressure of the room, which is suitable for operating rooms and other controlled environments.
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